Focus on patient pathways in pathology:

A note from Richard Steele, Medical Director Wellington SCL

As a pathologist I am closer to the requestors and patients than many of our staff. Indeed as a doctor who sees patients I can offer an immediate and personal assessment of the quality of service we offer.

Generally in the laboratory we tend to assess our success through seeing few mistakes and getting fewer complaints. However, we also get a lot of positive feedback which I think many of our staff do not hear about.

Nearly every week either a requestor or a patient will spontaneous give me positive feedback regarding Wellington SCL - from the patients, this is usually how our polite, efficient and professional are our phlebotomy staff.

This week, I have been involved in a complex neurological case where both serum and CSF had to be analysed locally and sent away for neuronal auto antibody testing in New Zealand and overseas.

I was really impressed how most of the critical testing performed on these samples at Wellington SCL was available within 24 hours while the test that made the diagnosis had been shipped, received, analysed and reported by the referral laboratory to the requesting clinician within 48 hours.

This would not have been possible even 12 months ago as the test was only available overseas.

The test made a significant and material difference to the patient who now has a rational and clear management path ahead of her.

The fast and efficient way in which the testing was done is a testament to both the systems in place and the dedication of Wellington SCL staff from the time the patient is bled to when the result is reported.

The aliquoting, demand management and testing of this case was complex and clearly is just one of the many thousands of samples which go through our laboratory every day.

Each of these samples is linked to a patient with their own sometimes complex clinical needs.

So recognition is due for the Wellington SCL team, I am certainly enjoying seeing the wonderful results of their efforts.